Photo: Cameron White says he has been trying to switch to solar for two years. (ABC News: Matt Bamford)
Residents in the Kimberley town of Broome have said they are fed up with being prevented from accessing solar power despite living in one of Western Australia's sunniest towns.
- Horizon Power only allows 10 per cent of the town's power to come from solar due to issues with grid fluctuations
- This leaves some residents unable to install a solar system that connects to the grid
- Horizon is trialling battery storage technology in other WA towns and hopes to expand this to Broome
State-owned energy utility Horizon Power allows just 10 per cent of the town's power to be generated from solar to protect the grid from fluctuations during periods of high and low light.
Small business owner Cameron White has been trying to switch to solar for two years in a bid to reduce his power bill but said he has been blocked at every turn.
"We're in the sunniest place in Australia, probably, but we can't use it," he said.
"Everybody should be on solar. It's such a waste. Same with the Pilbara, Port Hedland, Karratha, all those places."Mr White said the high cost of electricity in regional areas, combined with the inability to access solar was putting added financial stress on homes and businesses already suffering in a post-mining boom era.
Photo: A limited number of homes and businesses in Broome have solar power. (ABC News: Joshua Spong)
"Businesses in town are struggling at the moment, including myself, and you know these power bills [are] enough to tip people over the edge," he said.
Horizon Power acknowledges the problem and is currently trialling battery-supported solar systems in the WA towns of Carnarvon and Onslow which can store the power to deal with the fluctuations in supply.
Spokesman Frank Tudor said Horizon ultimately wanted regional towns to generate half their energy from the sun.
"Broome will be part of the trials that we are looking at across all of our different systems, if that proves worthwhile then we will gradually roll it out," he said.
"We need to balance it against our reliability and security responsibilities that we have both to the shareholder and to the community."But Mr White said he was not going to wait any longer, opting instead to disconnect from the grid and rely solely on the sun.
"I'm going it alone, I'm determined to do it myself," he said.